Geek is as geek does.

Available for purchase at ThinkGeek.com -- though, in my case, it really should be in the plural.

I’ve recently discovered a funny thing about me:

I’m less a geek, than I am a geek of geek culture.

It’s true that I’ve hit a few of the geek high points all on my own: I’m a life-long fan of the original three Star Wars films, and have nothing but disdain for the latter three; I’ve been watching Trek since the original series was first in re-runs (even I was a little too young when it first hit the airwaves); I’ve been known to watch all three LOTR films on consecutive evenings (extended cuts!); and I recently become a bona-fide Browncoat (aka: stupid-big fan of Firefly). I even have genuine Dr. Horrible cred, having watched it online almost immediately upon its release. Moreover, I’m a certified egg-head, and do things like read history because I want to and get deeply into the minutiae of history that particularly grabs me. So yeah. On some levels, I really am a geek.

But on a lot of other levels, I’m a complete dilettante. I don’t game (online or with poly dice) and never have (unless you count that one game of Angry Birds & a few visits to the arcade in the 80s); I don’t watch Dr. Who; I still haven’t read the Hitchhiker’s Guide. I intend to remedy that last sooner rather than later — especially now that even the boy is quoting lines at me — but I have no interest in either of the former. I don’t have any idea who’s Marvel and who’s DC, I didn’t much enjoy the actual source material for the LOTR films (though I did finally force myself to finish reading them), and I have no intention of ever reading any George RR Martin (I already know too many unsavory spoilers – why walk into that?)

But I love enthusiasm that vibrates in the very bones of the enthusiast. I love wild imaginations and thundering humanity. I love smart people, and especially smart people who really enjoy being smart. And I love hearing people talk about language and words and plots and narratives and what-is-canon.

So of course I love geek culture. After all being a geek — of any kind — is essentially about having ill-disguised, hugely enjoyable (and occasionally excruciating) enthusiasms. It’s about hatching plans in December 2011 to attend the midnight show of The Hobbit on the day it’s released in December 2012 (as I am); it’s about making elaborate plans for just which costumes you’re going to want to make for that event (not me, but my Internet pal kiranmartin [also known in these parts as caoil]). It’s about having opinions about each of the successive Doctors, and indeed, individual episodes in each Doctor’s arc. It’s about being able to describe yourself using Dungeons and Dragons terminology, and actually meaning it. It’s about loving something so much that you are willing to go outside the bounds of normative behavior to express that love, and more often than not, it demands a native intelligence that simply cannot let plot inconsistencies and fucking-long pod races slide (me again).

So I find myself following conversations about games and gaming culture (particuarly at my friend K. Cox’s place, because I also love people who know how to write), developing opinions about how women are presented in comics (it’s bad, man), and trading geek culture epehmera with my buddy anibundel (to whom I owe a debt of gratitude for being among those who hounded me into my late Browncoat-dom). It’s why I love ThinkGeek.com, why I encouraged the boy to read Hitchhikers in the first place, and why just the other day, I found myself watching a show called The Nerdist, despite only catching about half the references — not to mention why I found myself annoyed (despite host Chad Chris Hardwick’s entirely charming presence) with the yawning chasm where the women should have been (“but they mentioned Felicia Day!” I can already hear someone protesting, to which I can only reply: “Right! Only after insulting four hugely talented women musicians, and in the most overtly sexual terms possible! And anyway, one mention of one women isn’t really enough, is it, for the love of God?”). (Please note update, in comments – my second reply to Alison. Squee! Chad Chris Hardwick got in touch directly via the Twitters to apologize!) 

So rock on my geeks! I less-than-three you from the bottom of my less-than-three, and I am so grateful to be allowed into the room now and then. I may not be as great a mind as any of you on any of this, but I will get the  snacks and help you find those buttons you need for your Hobbit shirt. Because you’re awesome. And you make my days much, much brighter.

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26 Comments

  1. Sadly, that doesn’t surprise me at all about Hardwick, considering he used to host that God awful “dating” show on MTV way back when, Singled Out (with co-host Jenny McCarthy, pre-anti-vax days but horribly annoying in that overtly sexy, happily inane, gross-out-chick-is-SO-COOL way, ugh). I see he hasn’t changed much, but then why would he? Sigh.

    Reply
    • Well, he was actually quite cool — indeed, I came away with a bit of a crush on the man! It was a sidekick who was insulting. But it would have been nice if something had been done to keep the gratuitous insults from airing in the first place, and/or if there had been a single woman actually on the show. I don’t want to draw broad conclusions — I literally discovered The Nerdist just the other day and am way behind the curve — but those issues worried me a little as far as my future comfort level with the show. Eventually, crush or no, that’s the sort of thing that would make me just not want to watch anymore. I kind of wanted to yell “I AM WOMAN, HEAR ME NERD!”

      Reply
    • Ooh, & PS! Chad holy hell. I mean: CHRIS Hardwick himself just got in touch via Twitter to say that there were efforts made to have a woman on the December show, & Alison Brie is planned for the January show. So: Fingers crossed! (And squee!)

      Reply
  2. caoil

     /  December 26, 2011

    As usual, you sum things up perfectly, Emily! In my younger days, I had the usual shyness about my interests because goodness knows, what kind of person would be interested in a girl who liked nerdy things! But at this point, I don’t care, and if people put 2 and 2 together and realize that 4 = nerd, and judge me negatively for it, well, we probably won’t be hanging out again. I’m here to have fun with the things I enjoy, and I’m going to go ahead and do so.

    Reply
  3. And we heart you back!

    Although I do think one is not truly a geek until one has experienced the joy of Yuletide, where one can find geekish creativity applied to Greek classics, Alfred Hitchcock movies, and the lives of British politicians. (Here’s hoping those links all work!)

    Reply
  4. Captain Button

     /  December 27, 2011

    I’ve wondered how much of historical theological bickering, angel cataloging, etc. is just the geekiness of previous eras.

    Reply
  5. Geekery is large enough that you don’t have to follow EVERY geek thing. It’s okay you’re not as much into comic books or anything like that.

    But seriously, start reading Hitch-hiker’s Guide RIGHT NOW! NOW!

    Reply
    • Captain Button

       /  December 27, 2011

      I’m reminded of discussions I’ve seen in science fiction fandom of how in the good old days it was possible to read all of the science fiction and fantasy that came out. And how things changed when that became impossible (sometime in the 1970s or 80s, I think).

      But seriously, start reading Hitch-hiker’s Guide RIGHT NOW! NOW!

      Don’t Panic.

      Reply
      • Neither will I panic, nor will I forget my towel.

        But I will finish the other book I’m reading first.

        Reply
        • wearyvoter

           /  December 27, 2011

          I first read the Hitchhikers books in the 80s. The original fandom could probably stand to have print editions available now in large, friendly, letters.

          Reply
  6. Emily, you are geek enough in my book and always have been. :)

    Reply
  7. Who is this Chad Hardwick you speak of?

    Reply
    • Oh for the love of the sweet baby Moses in the gorram bullrushes. I meant CHRIS.

      Fixt now.

      Thank you. Sigh.

      (Nothing like complaining about something whilst calling someone the wrong name. That’s special).

      Reply
  8. No worries. We are all human and make mistakes. Thanks for fixing it. :-)

    Reply
  9. efgoldman

     /  December 27, 2011

    I am the semi-geek father of a full-out geek daughter. Its fun to watch, even if I don’t always understand. On the other hand, how could she be otherwise:
    - Mom wrote for original Star Trek as a teenager, years before we met.
    - Mom and I saw original brand new and shiny Star Wars in a big, old-fashioned movie theater a couple weeks after it came out.
    - Father-in-law set up and took most of the original, famous strobe pictures in the 50s – milk drop hitting a table, bullet pulverizing an apple, etc. He also designed the hoing strobe for one of the spacecraft; Apollo, I think.
    - Radio station where I worked played the Hitch-hiker’s Guide radio plays *before* the books were published – and Monty Python radio sketches before the TV shows were broadcast in the USA.
    - I introduced her to Rocky & Bullwinkle and Bugs Bunny almost before she could walk or talk. Maybe before.
    - We got our first computer, and she learned how to use it (an Atari 65) when she was four.
    - She moderated AOL chat rooms in the 90s, and lied about her age to do it.
    and on and on…

    Reply
    • 1) I so love knowing both you and that daughter!

      2) Get.
      The.
      Fuck.
      OUT!!!

      Mrs. efgoldman used to write for Star Trek?

      /iz ded

      /revives slightly

      Please tell her I say hi!

      /iz ded again.

      Reply
      • efgoldman

         /  December 28, 2011

        Lots of teenage geeks submitted scripts and ideas to Rodenberry. Used most often without attribution or compensation (kind of like blogging). Some years before we met in1976.

        Reply
        • Sigh. Is revived, & unhappy for Mrs. efgoldman.

          Please tell her that Gene Rodenberry should have done right by more people.

          /(secretly dies again, because still!)

          Reply
    • wearyvoter

       /  December 27, 2011

      Which episode(s)? (Re: TOS). Awesome! I came to Trek fandom during reruns in the early 70s, so for several years, I only saw the versions that local stations cut down themselves for syndication. In fact, in the early 80s, I worked for a TV station that was going to rerun Star Trek, and Paramount sent us some brand new, never-before-sullied by a TV station telecine set of prints of all 79 episodes, all at once, that we were to transfer to tape, Then, once the film was put to tape, our film editors were to cut the eps to make room for commercials.

      A special set of instructions came with the prints, involving a chemical that you could run through the projector to keep the film clean of any dust that might happen to be attracted by static. These prints had been pretreated with something that made using the chemical unnecessary, so when they were sent back to engineering to be copied to tape, each reel was labeled in large, threatening letters: Do not use (chemical brand name here) when running these films. There may have even been a skull and crossbones on the notes. Sadly, the engineer who made the transfers either did not read the label or chose to ignore it.

      This rotten development was discovered when several members of our production staff volunteered to spot check the tapes to make sure the transfers were done successfully. (Side note: Trekkers/Trekkies made up a large fraction of our staff, so by spot check, I mean that we intended to take our lunch periods and watch the uncut versions all the way through.) The first tape went into the cassette deck, and what did one of our screeners see?
      Streaks. Ugly, nasty, streaks. Our management was not pleased. And you can damn well bet that Paramount charged our owners several pretty pennies when they had to go clean up the mess.

      The next batch of eps we received were already on cassette, and pre-edited by the folks at Paramount, who did a particularly ham-handed job on “The Trouble with Tribbles.” *sigh*

      Reply
    • I only l lied about my age on the application, because I knew the “interviews” (also in chat rooms) would be after my 18th birthday, and by then it would be true. I *was* 18 by the time they actually left me in charge of anything. They probably shouldn’t have anyway; I only applied so I could undermine their system from within.

      Er. Geek parents also raised me to question authority…

      Reply
  10. Darth Thulhu

     /  December 29, 2011

    Even if you don’t like boardgaming, nor RPGs, nor video games, I nonetheless feel comfortable saying:

    NERD!
    <3

    Reply

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